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Turntable power supplies

The effect a good turntable power supply can have on sound quality is not something to be under estimated, it can transform a record  deck for a comparatively small investment.

Because of the sheer number of turntables produced its very difficult to generalise about which ones work with which power supplies, but we’ve done our best to try to simply the options that we offer as far as possible.

Can I use a power supply with my turntable?

If you turntable doesn’t already have an electronic power supply then chances are it will benefit substantially.

We have a lot of experience of using power supplies with turntables, and can confirm that the following decks all benefit from a good power supply:

Rega Planar 2, 3 & 25, Systemdek (most models), Linn LP12 Basik version, Linn Basik, Project (all models), Opus Continuo, Roksan Radius 5, Clearaudio (various models), Manticore Mantra, Roksan Radius 5, Ariston, Logic, Revolver, Walker, early Thorens, Audio Note TT1 and TT2, Reson, Dual, Michell (older AC motor versions), SME, Nottingham Analogue, Garrard (note 301 and 401 have quite high current demands).

To keep things as simple as possible we need to split into the two different types of motors that decks commonly have, please click on the link below to see power supply options for your deck:

AC Motors the most common examples include Rega, Linn, Manticore, Clearaudio, Nottingham Analogue, Garrard and so on.

DC Motors Less common than AC motor powered decks, these include Verdier, certain Pink Triangle decks, recent Thorens, recent Michell turntables and so on.

Q&A about turntable power supplies

Do I need fine speed adjustment?

It’s not an absolute necessity on most decks, but can be very beneficial under certain circumstances. For example the manufacturing tolerances of the pulleys and sub platters can mean that the deck doesn’t run absolutely accurately 33.3 or 45 RPM. Even a small change in speed will make a big difference in pitch and the apparent pace of music (I know this seems obvious but it can make a surprising difference).

How do I set the correct speed?

If you’re after a quick and easy way to check speed then a strobe disc on a spinning platter used under mains powered electric lights (incandescent bulb) will give you a pretty accurate idea of how fast your deck is running. The downside is that you are relying on the approximately 50Hz cycle of the mains which isn’t necessarily that accurate (as discussed elsewhere here).

To improve upon this accuracy you need to use a battery powered 50Hz strobe light so that you don’t rely on the mains as your reference. We can supply strobe lights for this job, we have a few different types available.

There are also apps you can download for your smart phone, these seem to be usefully accurate, allowing you to simply place your phone on the spinning platter.

The other alternative is to use a test record with a continuous tone recorded on it (i.e. 1kHz) and connect a frequency counter to the output of your phono stage (or tape output). Frequency counters can sometimes be found on good quality multi-meters, although its worth checking their claimed accuracy in the handbook.

Please note that it is always worth letting the deck run for a few minutes to warm everything up before attempting to check its accuracy, as its normal for a certain amount of drifting to take place on some designs.

So what improvements can I expect with a power supply?

Well the difference can be quite astonishing. Getting the speed right has obvious implications for pitch, while improved speed stability gives more stable imaging and a much better sense of timing, enabling you to hear how musicians react to one another. Detail retrieval also increases, particularly the low level sounds that can easily be masked by noise, with sounds appearing out of a blacker background, this is thanks to the reduction of mains noise which causes additional motor vibration.

My turntables already got an internal or external electronic power supply is it worth changing it?

If it does already have one with the turntable (like the Systemdeck IIX Electronic, Linn Axis, Linn LP12 Valhalla or Lingo, most recent Thorens and so on) then changing the power supply probably wouldn’t be the most cost effective upgrade.

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